The University of Iowa’s masterful Jackson Pollock, Mural (1951), which has generated its share of attention in recent years as state lawmakers have floated the idea of selling it to pay for various crises, is set to undergo a $300,000 restoration in coming years, according to the Des Moines Register.
Sean O’Harrow, the director of the university’s art museum, offers up one of the most sensible defenses of not deaccessioning artworks for them that we have ever heard to the paper:
“Let’s face it, when you own a national treasure, you don’t actually own it. … It’s yours to care for for future generations. We feel it’s our responsibility to care for it. … All the people that have seen it haven’t seen it in the best light. The strength of the painting is the palettes that Pollock used. Those colors have not been fully visible.”
The artwork, valued recently at about $150 million, was coated with a thick varnish in the 1970s, weakening its colors a bit.
To pay for the pricy restoration, the museum will likely approach other partner institutions in Iowa, like the Des Moines Art Center, where the the work will then be on display as part of an Iowa-wide tour.
Mr. O’Harrow throws in some nice Iowa boosterism as well:
“It just so happens that one of the groups that understood what was going on and could see where art in America was going toward were the professors at the University of Iowa.”
A tip of the hat to Blouin Artinfo for bringing this item to our attention.